It's finally here

Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
Trip End Apr 28, 2006

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Flag of Bahamas  ,
Friday, January 20, 2006

So it finally happened. I'm finally on the MV Explorer. It is so surreal. I don't really believe that I'm here yet. This morning after making my post on the blog I went back upstairs to find my mom bawling. I wasn't really sure what to do to help her so I just tried to avoid words like "leaving, ship, voyage, excited." It worked and after awhile she had control of herself again. We called down for a bellboy for 6:45 and went about getting ready. Ten minutes later the bell boy was at our door and refused to take my bags down without me. Good thing I hadn't slept or I never would have been ready considering he was there at 6:20. Once down in the lobby I met a 78 year old who wanted to share a taxi to the ship. I was afraid I was turning down my professor but it turns out that she is a student. (Who knew?) She has been on SAS three times and wants to go at least five more times. She was quite the talker and was very excited to get on the boat. After Katina and Kaylee showed up we got into a taxi with two other SASers and headed off for the ship. It was a little hazy but we were sure we'd be fine. The taxi driver was a former Greenbay Packers driver and ended up dropping us and our bags off about two blocks from the ship. We were all a little confused and wondered how we were suppose to lug the 22 bags all by ourselves. After setting out nature decided that we needed to be cooled down and next thing you know we were soaked. Finally we got into the line and were able to relax and wait to be checked in. The check in was actually incredibly easy and wasn't all that time consuming. After finding my cabin my steward quickly arrived with my two big bags and I began the process of unpacking before leaving to meet my mom and sister. My roommate, Nicole, was coming onboard later so I had to arrange the room myself. I actually got all of my bags semi unpacked and picked up in the hour I had and quickly headed off the ship to find my mom. We ended up spending quite a bit of time just running around the shops and then we headed back to stand in the huge line of parents and visitors wanting to see the ship. After waiting an hour we finally all got on and took a tour of the ship. Since I hadn't even seen it we got lost several times but I think we ended up seeing everything. It is really quite amazing although it is smaller than I thought it would be. (especially the pool, a lap would consist of a flip turn two strokes and another flip turn) Then we headed back to my cabin where I met my roommate. She is beautiful and incredibly nice. Her parents soon showed up so I left with mom and joi to say goodbye. It was a little rough and a little scary to realize that I was then all alone. I headed back to my room and my roommate and her parents tried to put together some of the organizational stuff they had brought. (I might have under packed just a little bit) Then she went and said goodbye and before I knew it we were having our first Life Boat Drill. (basically we all stand in straight lines with uncomfortable lifejackets and piles of clothes on until the captain inspects everyone and gives the ok for us to be dismissed) After that Nicole and I headed back to our room, gathered some things and headed out onto the deck with her friend Jane and Adam to watch the ship pull away. After watching the ship pull away I got such a strange feeling of aloneness. It was weird I was surrounded by people and yet I felt like I was facing this alone. I stayed and watched as we headed into the open sea and decided to stay out on deck while the rest of the group headed in to get something to eat and drink. We all had a meeting for our introduction to the SAS program at eight so I met some new people and headed down. It was a really good reminder of why I'm doing this in the first place. It reminded me that I am here to learn and experience other cultures and to be pushed to think and grow in new ways. Now I'm really excited for the actual class part of it and I'm really hoping that I won't be let down.
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